Story circles are a place where you can share your story with others. These circles are used to create a home for storytellers to express their most personal stories and create a mentor like space for those dealing with hard issues. In story circles people can learn to listen and learn to empathize with others. Story circles are also places where people can practice or share their stories and receive feedback. The story circle is essentially like a screening of a video or video segment used by movie producers to find out how audiences are responding to their story and how they can make it better. The feedback is as much on how the story is being told as on the content of the story. But along the way some practitioners are finding that in focusing on how the story is being told, the listener is sometimes able to overcome their prejudices towards the content of story and truly begin understanding what the teller is trying to really say. The listener will try to connect the story and the experience of the storyteller to themselves and a similar situation they have encountered. The feedback comes in the form of another person being in a similar situation to you and their personal insights into the subject. This creates a healthy dialog and gives the storyteller new insights into their story. This feedback is what helps the storyteller reexamine their place in history and gives them a chance to recreate their story and their place in history.
Story circles help storytellers organize their thoughts and help sort through sometimes uneasy feelings. Story circles are therapeutic and can encourage people to analyze events and relationships and put them into perspective. They are an agent for personal change. They help the storyteller learn the meaning of their story by giving a different view on the story. Story circles can help turn a negative story into a positive one which can lead to personal change. The teller can recreate their story by helping them to find, shape and change their place in history. The ultimate concept of the story circle is: you can’t change what happened, but you can change where you stand in relation to that story.
Even if the stories never go beyond the story circle step, they are of great value. But the story circle is a critical interim stop in shaping an effective story which is then digitized to reach a broader audience.
For more information on this topic, please see:
Digital Storytelling Manual: http://dsi.kqed.org/index.php/workshops/about/C66/
Story Center Manual: http://www.storycenter.org/cookbook.pdf
Aline, Gubrium. “Digital Storyteling: An Emergent Method for Health Promotion Research and Practice.” Health Promotion Practice 10.2 (2009): 186-91.